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December 2, 2008

Zoo Drops Creation Museum Partnership

The Creation Museum and the Cincinnati Zoo have broken up a partnership after the zoo, which receives public support through a tax levy, received angry calls and e-mails.

Dan Horn of The Enquirer reports that a ticket deal offered $25.95 tickets to both the zoo Festival of Lights and the museum's Bethlehem’s Blessing, which features a live nativity and the streets of Bethlehem.

Adelle M. Banks writes this story for Religion News Service:

The Cincinnati Zoo has dropped a business arrangement with the nearby Creation Museum after it received numerous complaints about a joint Christmas promotion.

Officials at the museum expressed disappointment that their plans to offer a reduced price on a package of tickets to both attractions had ended after less than three days.

"I am ... personally saddened that this organization I esteem so highly would find it necessary to back out of this relationship," said Ken Ham, founder and president of the museum in Petersburg, Ky. "At the same time, I have learned that the zoo received hundreds of complaints from what appear to be some very intolerant people, and so I understand the zoo's perspective."

The Cincinnati Enquirer
said zoo officials found themselves embroiled in a debate between creationists who support the museum and evolutionists who oppose it after agreeing to a deal that would reduce entry to the zoo's "Festival of Lights" and the museum's "Bethlehem's

"It's not about us endorsing them or them endorsing us," said Chad Yelton, a spokesman for the zoo, told the newspaper. "That's wasn't the intention of anything we were doing."


The Cincinnati Zoo has revealed itself as a bigoted, close-minded, intolerant organization. Bigoted against Christians, close-minded and intolerant of any belief system other than their own. I am disgusted with their decision. I have been to the zoo several times as I live w/in a couple of hours. I vow to never visit again. Had this been any other religious group that the zoo broke an agreement with it would be a big story with public outrage. But since it's Christians, it's okay. I'm sick of this double standard. It should go to prove Christ as the ONLY way in that any name (Allah, Budda, Mohammed) can be mentioned w/out incidence but should you dare whisper the name JESUS and all hell will break loose against you.

I find this very intolerant. I have never been to the creation museum (but have bought season passes to the Zoo for my family) but the guy who is behiond this (Leach) says the Zoo is diametrically opposed to the Creation museum. If that is so then I don't think my family belongs at the zoo anymore if they are diametrically opposite of a Christian organization (or any religous orgainization) and I don't think I can vote for anymore Zoo Levy's.

I call for a boycott of the Zoo and no more Tax Levy's until Leach is removed or the Zoo changes it's stand and does not let people like Leach bully them.

So much for tolerance and enlightenment. The baser, more barbarian side of the Neo-Gnotics is showing.

It is interesting that the Creation Museum is suddenly a "Christian organization", when it has been touting itself as a Scientific organization. Although I have not been to the museum, my understanding is that it refutes evolutionary science with creation science. As such, it is not making a religious claim, but a scientific one. The zoo, as a scientific organization, is completely correct to distance itself from what it deems to be poor science. This is not discrimination against Christians. It's discriminating science.

folks - this seems to be a church-state (zoo is partially funded through taxes) issue, not about personal beliefs or intolerance.
The hypocracy of some of the comments is indicative of a disturbing level of ignorance

I wonder if our intolerant friends are protesting the upcoming Zoo Brew event scheduled for October 2009, or the Wild About Wine events scheduled for next summer? I also wonder why the zoo has to have the permission of the immoral minority to present ANY program to the public. How is it that this small-minded group of people can so easily stop something so lovely from happening?

I don't know much about and thus can't comment on either of these two organizations or the specifics of this arrangement. But from what I've heard of the Museum, it is based on "young earth" creationism and a literal interpretation of Genesis, without consideration for various literary genres and such. If that is valid, and presuming the zoo is basically Darwinian, then maybe expecting cooperative efforts to last is unrealistic--and neither side may be more "at fault."

Or maybe one or the other IS, but there's a larger point not to be missed: Literalism on Genesis is poor literary analysis, poor theology AND poor science. And strict Darwinism or exculsion of the possibility of Intelligent Design is also bad science... There ARE good in-between options... e.g., check "Thank God for Evolution" by Michael Dowd. Theistic evolution has been around for a long time, and it is being refined and updated.

I am assuming that zoological gardens are now officially bastions dedicated to the endorsement and propagation of specific "scientific" ideology. Can't we leave that to other institutions so generous in number and simply allow zoos to be a celebration of our diverse and marvelous world. I'm far more interested in everything there is to know about the present character, habitat and life of all the animals than in reams of speculation as to their origin and how they came to be what they are. National Geographic wastes multiple columns on this kind of speculation to the detriment their readership's learning.

How tragic that our zoos now become partisan institutions of ideology rather than celebrations of our natural world. A zoo should be free to join with any organization, religious or secular, to promote it's attendance ends. It's animal inhabitants are are owned by the public at large and have no ideological alignment whatsoever. A monkey delights a child equally whether that child is born to a creationist or evolutionist. Keep ideological politics out of our zoos!

bmhowell wrote...

"Although I have not been to the museum, my understanding is that it refutes evolutionary science with creation science. As such, it is not making a religious claim, but a scientific one. The zoo, as a scientific organization, is completely correct to distance itself from what it deems to be poor science. This is not discrimination against Christians. It's discriminating science."

There's nothing wrong with 'discrimination', per se... discrimination is good. It is the ability to discern the differences between one thing and another, and to make choices on the basis of that discernment. Law does NOT prohibit 'discrimination'... laws prohibit the application of certain criteria that we might use in making discriminating judgments... race, color, creed, natural origin...

... but there is NOTHING that prohibits sane, rational people from discriminating against toxic, drooling stupidity.

Ken Ham's "Answers In Genesis" is behind the 'Creation Museum'. They have a 'Statement of Faith' at their web site. The last item there is particularly illuminating...

No apparent, perceived or claimed evidence in any field, including history and chronology, can be valid if it contradicts the Scriptural record.

So... you see... the Creation Museum's intellectual dishonesty is codified, and discredits everything they say or do, right from the outset.

The Creation Museum does NOT seek to promote science, or enhance science education... instead, it seeks to UNDERMINE science.

Science follows the evidence, wherever it might lead. 'AiG'... and its 'Creation Museum'... starts with the myths, superstitions, fairy-tales and fantastical delusions of an ignorant gaggle of Bronze Age fishermen and peripatetic, militant, marauding, murderous, genocidal goat-herders... scripture... and then twists, distorts, manipulates and misrepresents evidence such that the scientifically ignorant can be bamboozled into believing that the evidence leads there... and simply REJECTS evidence that they can NOT distort sufficiently to make it point to scripture... i.e., they LIE about it.

The Creation Museum does NOT present 'science'... rather, they are promoters, purveyors, protectors and defenders of gullibility, self-deception, self-delusion, willful ignorance, scientific ignorance, lies, hypocrisy, and toxic, drooling stupidity... and those attributes are in direct conflict with the scientific mission of the Cincinnati Zoo. The alarming thing is that the zoo employs people who are stupid enough to have been talking to the Creation Museum in the first place.

My understanding is that the relationship would imply that the Zoo was supporting the religious proposition put forth by the creation museum. And as to whether it not the museum is a religious organization or a scientific organization, please look at this quote from the museum's own website "Answers in Genesis and the Creation Museum seek to give glory and honor to God as Creator, and to affirm the truth of the biblical record of the real origin and history of the world and mankind." Doesn't sound very secular to me.

I do not see this as intolerance more as keeping secular and theistic things separate. The museum is not doing scientific work, regardless of what ken Ham claims, and the Zoo is a secular organization.

Is it intolerance to disagree with a position? How many of us would welcome a Biologist to stand in front of us from the pulpit and teach Biology 101, including the Theory of Evolution, or a Geologist to discuss the relative age of the Earth at 4.5 billion years, or . . .. I am not trying to raise anyone's blood pressure, but just to raise a point. Disagreement is not intolerance, it's disagreement. People have that freedom, just like the Zoo has the freedom to sever a business relationship that would not be in it's best interest.

in response to Alden -- yes, a Zoo is a celebration of our natural world, the 'museum' in question is not. I hate to word it this way, but anything that makes the Flintstones look like a documentary cannot be taken seriously.

The Zoo more than likely originally thought of this as nothing more than a business relationship and didn't consider the broader ramifications. After examining the museum and what it does represent -- which is not the majority of the Christian View point at all, but a narrow literal Genesis view that is disagreed to by three Popes, over 11,000 Christian Clergy (Google Clergy letter Project and see for yourself), and most Christians in the world. I am not surprised they severed their business relationship. i think it was a smart move.

Several hundred complaints? I doubt very seriously. All Christians must now fight back and refuse their tax dollars to be spent for such action. All Christians and believers should refrain from visiting the zoo. Jesus himself said shake the dust off your feet and seek others.

The Creation Museum and the organization that created it, Answers in Genesis, promotes a populist Protestant fundamentlist misunderstanding of both the Genesis narratives and how science approaches the study of the natural world. All one has to do is to read their propaganda to realize that, among other things, they teach that humans and dinosaurs lived at the same time and all living things were created in seven literal days a few thousand years ago. The leadership of the Cincinnati Zoo should be congratulated for its action.

As Alden commented, I too “am assuming that zoological gardens are now officially bastions dedicated to the endorsement and propagation of specific "scientific" ideology.” Ironically, the nearby Cincinnati Zoo appears to be making a financial and marketing decision based on future arrangements with intolerant evolutionist and humanist ideology. Biblical theology has no room for evolutionism and this is why humanists applaud the Cincinnati Zoo’s decision.

posted by Howard Pepper on Dec. 3...writes that theistic evolution has been around for a long time, and it is being refined and updated. WHAT?? Thank goodness God's word will never need to be refined or updated! (keep the fire burning Ken) "To God Be The Glory"

Since you're criticizing an organization you don't seem to know much about, let me educate you

"Answers in Genesis is an apologetics (i.e., Christianity-defending) ministry, dedicated to enabling Christians to defend their faith and to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ effectively. We focus particularly on providing answers to questions surrounding the book of Genesis, as it is the most-attacked book of the Bible. We also desire to train others to develop a biblical worldview, and seek to expose the bankruptcy of evolutionary ideas, and its bedfellow, a “millions of years old” earth (and even older universe).

"AiG teaches that “facts” don’t speak for themselves, but must be interpreted. That is, there aren’t separate sets of “evidences” for evolution and creation—we all deal with the same evidence (we all live on the same earth, have the same fossils, observe the same animals, etc.). The difference lies in how we interpret what we study. The Bible—the “history book of the universe”—provides a reliable, eye-witness account of the beginning of all things, and can be trusted to tell the truth in all areas it touches on. Therefore, we are able to use it to help us make sense of this present world. When properly understood, the “evidence” confirms the biblical account."

Answers in Genesis Mission Statement

To support the church in fulfilling its commission

Answers in Genesis is a catalyst to bring reformation by reclaiming the foundations of our faith which are found in the Bible, from the very first verse.

* We proclaim the absolute truth and authority of the Bible with boldness.
* We relate the relevance of a literal Genesis to the church and the world today with creativity.
* We obey God’s call to deliver the message of the gospel, individually and collectively.

"based on "young earth" creationism and a literal interpretation of Genesis, without consideration for various literary genres and such."

Of course they've taken it into consideration. It's been thoroughly refuted time and again by the original Hebrew.

"Literalism on Genesis is poor literary analysis, poor theology AND poor science."

As it happens, a literal Genesis is the only position that passes the logic test. The other positions you suggest require starting with flawed secular science (and NOT observational science, but unprovable, speculative, historical science) and trying to manipulate the Bible to "fit" that world view. There is no compromise position that comes from a exegetical conclusion. Only improper eisegetical readings will result in these compromises.

"There ARE good in-between options"

All of which require telling God that He was wrong in Genesis.

"Theistic evolution has been around for a long time"

Creation has been around a lot longer.

Exodus 20:11
Mark 10:6
Luke 11:50-51
Luke 1:70
John 8:44
Acts 3:21
2 Peter 3:3-6
Luke 6:46


The problem with theistic evolution (aside from the theological ones that Answers in Genesis gets into) is that the "evolution" that would result in life as we know it is not proven to have happened; it is merely assumed to have, with all evidence interpreted accordingly.

Evolution is not observed today; antibiotic resistance is adaptation, not evolution. Loss of functions (i.e., vestigial structures) is devolution, not evolution.

A big point of creation science is that evolution not only does not happen, but could not and did not, and real science supports this. Evolutionism is not the study of how things works; it is the purely hypothetical (in result, if not in intention) study of how things MIGHT work if there were no Creator.

Theistic evolution is nothing but a combination of the most undesirable features of both sides: the God that one side wants to get rid of, and the false evolutionistic "science" that the other side battles.

This is a church-state issue and, as such, is actually a correction of something that should have never happened at all (the partnership). I agree with the comments about a need for education on this matter. Let each be a free-standing organization, and folks can choose to go to either, or neither. That is the essence of our freedom.

You know, I think some people have way too much time on their hands. To me, this just seems to be a smart way to get more people to attend the zoo. God forbid that the zoo try to make more money! I am sure that many Creation Museum attendees would have seen this deal and hence decided to attend the zoo.

And to those who have said that they will boycott the zoo because they broke the agreement, I would ask you to take a deep breath and read Ken Ham's quote one more time.

"Zoo Drops Creation Museum Partnership." As well they should. It's difficult to imagine why they had anything to do with a "Creation Museum." Zoos, as public, educational institutions, must support intellectual integrity, at all times, at all costs.

A "partnership" is an endorsement. The administrators should be replaced for their dangerous lack of judgment and cluelessness about the prime mission of zoos in today's society.

Adaptions and "devolution" are "proof" of evolution. What do you think "evolution" is?

Genesis, probably my favorite book in the Bible, is to me, various lessons on idolatry. A rough analogy would be that while I may learn some history and science from a novel, that's not why I read it. I don't read Genesis to learn science. I read "Scientific American" and "Nature" instead.

Genesis teaches me what idolatry looked like, gets me to think about how it looks now, how it works, why I might think an idol might do something for me, the sociology of idolatry, why it doesn't work beyond our minds, the difficulties of living in an idolatrous world when you're not an idol worshiper.

The magnificent first verses not only establish what empowered creation, a one and only God, unknowable, but it nicely dismisses the seven planetary gods and goddesses of the polytheists as simply irrelevant.

They're tacitly given an anonymous number instead of a name. Their day on the calender is just a day like any other, of no more or less significance. Their special domains were exposed as just nature as God had empowered.

Monday, for instance, the Moon god's day, is now just a label with little religious significance to anyone I know. There are no temples to the the Moon god for me to pop in on Monday and offer a sacrifice, no priests, no need at all to appease the Moon god, nothing but an agreed upon, but essentially meaningless label on my calender.

I continue to read the statement: "Separation of Church and State." This is NOT a law nor has it ever been in the USA. This is simply a desire and an agenda of some atheists. Here are 2 basic examples of demonstrated precedence to this fact. They are as follows: 1. the statement on a US Dollar: "In God We Trust"; 2. in the Declaration of Independence: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights.."

Mr. Sabo wrote: "Several hundred complaints? I doubt very seriously. All Christians must now fight back and refuse their tax dollars to be spent for such action. All Christians and believers should refrain from visiting the zoo. Jesus himself said shake the dust off your feet and seek others."

In reality it might have only taken one call for the zoo to realize that it made a mistake entering into a business arrangement with ken Ham's so-called museum. I also disagree that Christians should refrain from visiting the zoo, since The Creation Museum is not representing the majority view point of Christians, but a small narrow-minded evangelical sect who insist that humans and dinosaurs lived together, the Earth is only 6000 years old, and that Noah's Flood actually happened -- no matter what evidence is presented to the contrary. I am a Christian and I was taught that the Bible is a series of allegorical stories and not literal fact. Read up on St. Augustine if you disagree!

Ms. Horrigan, You don't think the Bible has changed since it was written. I have to disagree with you. It has not only changed, but whole books have been removed, added, re-arranged. It has been translated, re-translated, and some of the translations have been translated. The King James Version, the most popular in the world today was re-written nearly in it's entirety and made surprisingly 'politically correct' for that day in age.

I am not saying this to upset anyone, but the Bible's we read today are far removed from the ones written 100, 200, and even 1200 years ago. Many people think the original language of the Bible was Aramaic, but it was actually Greek.

Ken Ham is not a Biblical Scholar and his literal re-telling of Genesis is actually pretty funny. He has said that unicorns are real; the Beowulf story is evidence of human cohabitation with dinosaurs, that religious genocide is OK, and the government is training people to talk to aliens. Ken Ham is not in it for God’s Glory and the Zoo was smart to sever any relationship. BYW, did you know that the Creation Museum is not actually a Museum, but a business registered as a Ministry?

This would be like a planetarium having an endorsement deal with the Flat Earth Society. And I agree with everything DuckPhup said about Answers in Genesis.

I'd also like to point out that evolution and religion aren't incompatible. See, scientific theories have to be falsifiable to be truly scientific, and science can't prove or disprove God. So any real scientific theory can't comment on God one way or the other, any more than it could comment or Allah or Ganesh or Vishnu.

Also, Ken Ham is a liar and a tax evader, so he's breaking two biblical principles right there.